Canine pulmonary edema | Pulmonary edema in dogs and cats

The same general mechanisms that cause edema elsewhere in the body cause edema in the pulmonary parenchyma. Major mechanisms are decreased plasma oncotic pressure, vascular overload, lymphatic obstruction, and increased vascular permeability.

Edema in dogs and cats is initially a fluid accumulation in the interstitium. However, because the interstitium is a small compartment, the alveoli are soon involved. When profound fluid accumulation occurs, even the airways become filled. Respiratory function is further affected as a result of the atelectasis and decreased compliance caused by compression of the alveoli and decreased concentrations of surfactant. Airway resistance increases as a result of the luminal narrowing of small bronchioles. Hypoxemia results from ventilation-perfusion abnormalities.

Clinical features of pulmonary edema in dogs and cats

Dogs and cats with pulmonary edema are seen because of cough, tachypnea, respiratory distress, or signs of the inciting disease. Crackles are heard on auscultation, except in animals with mild or early disease. Immediately preceding death from pulmonary edema, blood-thinged froth may appear in the trachea, pharynx or nares. Respiratory signs can be peracute, as in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), or subacute, as in hypoalbuminemia. However, a prolonged history of respiratory signs (e.g., months) is not consistent with a diagnosis of edema in dogs and cats.

Pulmonary edema in most dogs and cats is diagnosed on the basis of the finding of the typical radiographic changes in the lungs in conjunction with clinical evidence (from the history, physical examination, radiography, echocardiography, and serum biochemical analysis (particularly albumin concentration) of a disease associated with pulmonary edema.

Early pulmonary edema in dogs and cats assumes an interstitial pattern on radiographs that progresses to become an alveolar pattern. In dogs, edema caused by heart failure is generally more severe in the hilar region. In cats, the increased opacities are more often patchy. Edema resulting from increased vascular permeability tends to be most severe in the dorsocaudal lung regions.

Canine pulmonary edema diagnostic plan:

Physical examination
Chest auscultation
Chest X-rays
Blood work

Canine pulmonary edema treatment:

Active restriction
Oxygen therapy
Drugs to strengthen the heart

Canine pulmonary edema dietary plan:

A diet based on individual patient evaluation including body condition and other organ system involvement or disease. Also, consider sodium restriction. We recommend this natural balanced real-meat dog food and natural dietary supplement for recovery.

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